Being a chef means you know just how difficult it is to keep kids happy at the dinner table. Some children will eat anything, but most will have a list of foods they just will not eat, or a very short list of foods they will.
Adding parents into the mix, who usually want their kids to choose a healthier option, means coming up with an effective kids’ menu can be extremely difficult.
We’ve worked with countless venues to help develop kids’ menus that both children and parents love. So, when you’re sitting down to plan your kids’ menu, remember to keep these simple tips in mind:
Keep it fun:
Fun food for kids is key. You want your teeny diners to be excited when their plate is put in front of them. Think about what kind of food kids enjoy eating. Incorporating something they can dip is always a hit for instance. And it doesn’t need to be chips and sauce; it could be fruit and yoghurt or veggie sticks and hummus. Cut shapes in the veggies, arrange the food in an exciting way, use colourful bowls and plates or silly straws. Small things like this may seem frivolous to adults but can make a kids’ day.
Keep it healthy:
Slowly we are seeing kids’ menus eschew mac’n’cheese and nuggets for healthier options like veggies, fruit and lean meat. Consider making small vegetable-packed burgers or healthy cheeseless pizzas that will keep kids and parents happy. If you’re offering breakfast, top pancakes with lots of colourful fruits rather than ice cream or use English muffins as a base for eggs. If you’re offering healthy meals that the parents are happy with you’re more likely to get return business as it can be difficult to find family friendly restaurants.
Keep it small:
Most kids don’t eat a full meal the way adults do. They may pick at one thing before moving to the next. We’ve seen many restaurants fail with their kids’ meals because they go overboard with the portion sizes. Make sure you have small offerings. You could also consider using many small parts to make a dish. For example, instead of ‘fish and chips’ offer kids the choice of three small foods rather than one full ‘meal’, some kids may choose a dip, veggies and garlic bread, others may choose lean meat, pasta and dried fruit. Flavours don’t necessarily have to complement each other like adults’ meals do.
Keep it authentic to your style:
Your kids’ menu should not stray too far from your other offerings. It can be jarring when your regular menu is Mediterranean or Indian, but your kids’ menu has fish and chips and nuggets. Often older children are trying to act (and eat) more like adults anyway, and therefore are more keen to try new things. First, take a look at what kinds of foods you already have that can be turned into kid meals to save time and preparation. If you have chicken breasts for example, they are easy to slice and grill for chicken strips.
Kid-friendly menus are certainly in high demand and if your restaurant can successfully feed those little appetites, you are certain to see the value come back many times over as families return to your venue again and again. Get in touch with us today if you want to chat about creating a perfect kids’ menu for your venue.